“Lalu Prasad is our leader and there cannot be a debate on this,” senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said on Sunday, a day after controversial former MP of the party Mohammed Shahabuddin termed Nitish Kumar a “CM of circumstances”, laying bare the divide in Bihar’s ruling alliance.
Singh went on to say he had disfavoured anointing Nitish Kumar as chief ministerial candidate of the Grand Alliance comprising JD(U), RJD and Congress.
“There are different parties in the alliance and Lalu Prasad is our leader. The leaders of the alliance partners decided on making Nitish Kumar the Chief Minister (even before the election). I disfavoured it, but the leaders had already taken a decision,” he said.
Singh, a former Union minister and RJD vice president, said,”What is wrong in it (Shahabuddin’s statement)? Nitish Kumar has indeed been a Chief Minister of circumstances and not because of his own strength and numbers.”
Kumar, however, termed as “unimportant” Mohammad Shahabuddin’s remarks describing him as a “Chief Minister of circumstances”, asserting “everybody knows about the mandate of the people”.
“We have not got the mandate to give reactions. You (mediapersons) too are wasting your time and space on this. Everybody knows what is the mandate of the people of Bihar. Should I go by the people’s mandate or pay attention to what someone is saying ? We have not paid attention to such things in the past. All these things are not important,” Kumar told reporters.
He also rubbished allegation that the government had facilitated the release of Shahabuddin, a former four-time MP from Siwan who is facing early 40 cases of murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping and extortion.
“There is a legal process. The law takes its own course. He got jailed and was released on bail….there is no role (of the government in all this,” he said.
Senior BJP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, however, termed Shahabuddin’s release on bail part of a “well planned strategy” of the state government and backed the RJD strongman’s remarks that Nitish Kumar was a chief minister of circumstances.